Meet our 2020 HMPRG Awards Winners - Health & Medicine Policy Research Group

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Meet our 2020 HMPRG Awards Winners

July 31, 2020

We’re pleased to announce the recipients of our 2020 HMPRG Awards representing Chicago-area leaders whose work exemplifies Health & Medicine’s mission to promote social justice and challenge inequities in health and health care.

You can watch the recording of the virtual 2020 HMPRG Awards Gala here!

Lifetime Achievement Award: Frank E. Chapman Jr., Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression

In 1961, Chapman was wrongfully convicted in 1961 of murder and armed robbery and sentenced to life and fifty years in the Missouri Department of Corrections. He immediately became involved in human rights struggles within the prison, met people in the freedom movement while in prison, and became involved in legal struggles (in federal courts) to desegregate the Missouri State Prison system.

Today, Chapman is the field organizer and educational director of the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression (CAARPR). Since 1973, when it was born from the movement to free Angela Davis and all political prisoners, the Alliance has defended the rights of oppressed people in Illinois and around the world.

CAARPR defends the civil liberties of workers, activists, and prisoners, and struggles against white supremacy, the prison-industrial complex, and state violence. The organization demands community control of the police and full representation for Black people and other poor and oppressed people at all levels of government. In its fight against this pandemic, CAARPR has led the movement to depopulate the Cook County jail and to provide treatment, testing, and release to the incarcerated population, including torture survivors and the wrongfully convicted.

Health Award: Marta Santiago, National Community Advisory Board of the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study/Women’s Interagency HIV Study Combined Cohort Study (MACS/WIHS-CCS)

Santiago is co-chair of the MACS/WIHS-CCS, the largest and longest ongoing cohort study of HIV-infected women in the United States. She collaborates with health systems to improve the health and well-being of all women and families living with HIV, and has helped change the landscape in Chicago and nationally using support and education to transform HIV care and research. Through her work, she has helped ensure the voices of those participating in research and receiving care are heard and valued.

Health Award: Ayesha Jaco, MAM, West Side United

Jaco is the Senior Program Director for West Side United. As a fierce advocate for residents of the West Side of Chicago, Jaco works to create initiatives that address structural violence as well as leading a hospital collaborative where she advocates for the needs and visions of residents, making sure changes are community-driven. In addition, Jaco directs a dance after-school program that empowers Black students to express themselves through movement.

Medicine Award: LaMenta Sweetie Conway, MD, MPH, I Am ABEL Foundation

Conway is the founder of I am ABEL Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to empowering medical scholars in order to work towards creating equity, closing socioeconomic gaps, and creating safer and healthier communities. Through the foundation’s camps, conferences, internships and mentoring programs, they increase exposure, education, and opportunities for under- represented minorities in math and science, ecology, business and education with a strong emphasis on a developing a pipeline to careers in medicine.An experienced physician and clinical educator, Conway is devoted to caring and advocating for communities in need, including providing compassionate care for those incarcerated in Illinois state prisons.

Policy Award: Kristi L. Kirschner, MD, University of Illinois College of Medicine

Kirschner is a clinical professor of Medical Education, Neurology & Rehabilitation, and Disability & Human Development at University of Illinois College of Medicine. She has devoted her life to advocacy for the rights and access to medical care for people with disabilities, including providing clinical care and fostering initiatives that improve the lives of people with disabilities in Chicago and beyond. These initiatives include creating one of the first community-based organizations dedicated to addressing barriers to health care access for women with disabilities in the country.

Research Award: Keiki Hinami, MD, MS, Cook County Health

Hinami is a general internist at Cook County Health (CCH) and a researcher within CCH’s Collaborative Research Unit. As a physician researcher, he has integrated vast data sources to identify a population with the greatest potential to benefit from directed public-private housing investments to achieve health equity. Keiki jettisoned his medical practice full-time into serving this specific population during the COVID-19 state of emergency, as clinical co-director of the 24-hour Temporary Medical Respite Shelter program at the South Side YMCA, in hopes of decreasing the number of individuals who would die on the streets as a result of decreased access to care resulting from COVID-19.

Emerging Leader Award: Sodabeh Etminan DMD, MPH, Mile Square Health System

Etminan is a pediatric dentist serving the Mile Square Health System. When COVID-19 shut down dental services, Etminan got funding for and started running a food pantry for her patients. She responded quickly to her patients’ crisis needs, and is committed to helping provide food security for her patients long term. The pantry has provided meals for hundreds of families over the last several months. Etminan has showed a deep commitment to her community through these extraordinary efforts.

Group Award: Great Lakes Center for Occupational Health and Safety

Great Lakes Center for Occupational Health and Safety is a recognized leader in the national and international movement to promote healthier workplaces and workers. The center is one of 18 Education and Research Centers funded by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and has a 40-year history of providing occupational health outreach, continuing education, graduate education, and research in occupational health. During the pandemic, Continuing Education and Outreach Director Dr. Preethi Pratap and Outreach Program Development Manager Marsha Love wrote and distributed a Call to Action for Worker Protection during the Pandemic that sought to identify the most immediate risks to all non-medical essential workers and formulated a public health strategy for Chicagoland and Illinois to help provide information and support to some of our most essential and at-risk workers.

Group Award: Coalition of Limited English Speaking Elderly (CLESE)

CLESE is committed to a vision of equal access to services for all elderly, regardless of ethnicity or language. As a coalition, CLESE works to increase awareness of the needs, rights, and unique contributions of limited-English-speaking elderly and the community-based organizations that serve them. The Coalition promotes understanding, sensitivity, and insight into culturally diverse communities. CLESE provides assistance and information to fifty-four community-based ethnic organizations serving immigrant, refugee and migrant older adults. Executive Director Marta Pereyra has built a network of more than 120 private and subcontracted interpreters working in 30-40 languages each week to serve close to 4,000 people each year.